If you have ever seen the film To Live and Die in L.A. then you know the Gerald Desmond Bridge. It has a starring role in the opening sequence, when Treasury agent Richard Chance (played by William Peterson) bungee jumps off of it. You probably haven’t bungeed off it yourself, but If you’ve ever driven across it, you might get why it needs replacing. The original bridge, according to the project website, “is nearing the end of its intended lifespan.” In fact, the old bridge, while considered safe, is a little scary. Netting has been suspended beneath it to catch pieces of falling concrete. Additionally, its approaches are too steep, it’s too narrow, and perhaps most importantly, the newest container ships can’t fit under it.
Daytime view of the new bridge, from the west shore. (Courtesy Port of Long Beach)
That bridge that will soon be a thing of the past. On Tuesday, January 8, Caltrans, Metro, the Port of Long Beach, and the US Department of Transportation broke ground on the $1 billion joint project to build the state-of-the-art replacement bridge for what is considered one of the nation’s most critical transport hubs. The projected five-year construction period is also expected to generate significant economic activity in the region, including thousands of project-related jobs.
The new cable-stayed bridge will feature 500-foot-tall towers and an observation deck 200 feet above the water. The design also incorporates bike lanes and pedestrian walkways. The joint venture includes Shimmick Construction Company, FCC Construction S.A., Impregilo S.p.A., with engineering by Arup North America and Biggs Cardosa Associates.Scenic overlook on main span of bikeway. (Port of Long Beach) Driver’s Perspective at Night (Port of Long Beach) Night view from back channel west shore looking south (Port of Long Beach)